The incumbent BJP government in Gujarat has registered a landslide victory, which is record-breaking in more ways than one. The party has won 147 seats and is leading in 9 others, meaning it could end up with a whopping 156 seats in the 182 seat Gujarat assembly.
BJP’s 52.5% vote share is its highest ever in Gujarat, up 3.5% from what it won in 2017 and just shy of Congress’ 55% vote share in the 1985 elections. With this seventh consecutive win in Gujarat, the BJP equaled the Left Front’s record in WB for seven consecutive wins in a state election.
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel took over in September 2021 after BJP removed incumbent Vijay Rupani, and is set to be sworn-in again on December 12. The Patel ministry totalled 25, including the Chief Minister, but for the two-phase December elections, five ministers were denied tickets. Of the other 20, the Chief Minister and 18 others have got re-elected to the Assembly.
While Patel has won with a massive margin of 1,92,263 votes, other colleagues who won with large margins are Purnesh Modi (104,637), Harsh Sanghvi (131,675), Kanu Desai (97,164), Naresh Patel (93,166), and Manish Vakil (98,597).
The BJP, in a press statement, has given several reasons for its landslide victory – the Prime Minister Narendra Modi factor, water management, safe and secure Gujarat, uninterrupted electricity supply, agricultural growth, empowering poor and deprived, qualitative specialised education, women empowerment, empowerment of janjatis (‘tribals’), and ‘Vibrant Gujarat’.
Congress has been reduced to just 17 seats in Gujarat, with AAP cutting into its vote share in a big way. Despite winning only 5 seats, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal declared to his workers in typical bombastic fashion, “BJP’s bastion Gujarat has been breached (sic), next time we will win fort.” He repeated the phrase ‘Aam Aadmi Party has now become a national party’ multiple times in his address.
Opposition parties are seeing the results as a further sign of Congress’ decline on the national stage, despite its victory in Himachal Pradesh.
The results of the Gujarat Assembly elections have proved that Congress has lost its relevance to lead any national front against the BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress said.
TMC leaders also claimed that the Gujarat results also prove that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is the ‘only credible face’ against the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to lead a “third alternative a democratic, progressive and secular” alternative against the BJP at the national level.
State Congress leadership, however, have rubbished Ghosh’s claim, saying that Trinamool should first try to expand its base outside West Bengal before aiming an important berth in national politics.
“Trinamool Congress’s base anywhere outside West Bengal is zero. So, the party leadership should first focus on this factor before questioning the credibility of Congress,” said state Congress leader Kaustav Ghosal.
(With IANS inputs)